Coroner’s Office: Serial killer Derrick Todd Lee died from heart disease _lowres

Derrick Todd Lee, center-orange jump suit, motion in West Baton Rouge asking for a new trial in the death of Geralyn Barr DeSoto of Addis. Lee's lawyers are claiming that lead prosecutor Tony Clayton was not properly certified as a prosecutor when he handled the case. Hearing starts at 9 a.m., but Lee will arrive early. (Advocate staff photo by Bill Feig. Photo shot on 5/27/05.) Malformed publication history data 052805 1-A, 1-B;S

Convicted killer Derrick Todd Lee, who was linked to a string of women’s deaths in south Louisiana in the late 1990s and early 2000s, suffered a natural death due to heart disease, a representative for West Feliciana Parish Coroner Chaillie Daniel said Tuesday.

Kim Hodgin, an assistant to Daniel, said she could not provide more details about the notorious killer’s death.

Lee died Jan. 21, a few days after he’d been taken to a hospital outside the Louisiana State Penitentiary at Angola, where he was being held on death row.

Lee was convicted in the murders of two women and was linked by DNA to the slayings of five other women.

Nearly eight weeks passed since Lee’s death without any official information on his cause of death.

East Baton Rouge Parish Coroner William “Beau” Clark’s office performed the autopsy as part of a contract agreement with Daniel, but Daniel is the custodian of the records, Clark said.

Clark commonly releases a brief summary of a death investigation immediately after an autopsy takes place, even if the toxicology report isn’t finished. That process can take about six weeks.

But when someone dies of apparent natural causes, Louisiana law says the coroner of the parish where the deceased person lived has jurisdiction, Clark said.

Angola is in West Feliciana Parish and Daniel has jurisdiction.

Though autopsy reports are public records, Hodgin said Daniel does not plan to release Lee’s autopsy report, citing patient privacy laws.

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